The use of technology has permeated into many professional facets including in the provision of services to rural communities in the developing world. Increasingly, as we become a culture that is connected to everyone and everything and ubiquitously online, every business is finding ways of connecting to their customers and small-scale livestock producers are no exception. A new mobile platform is set to revolutionise how veterinary medicines and vaccines are accessed and managed by agrovets in Ghana. Zhulia – which means tribe in the local dialect, was recently launched by Cowtribe, GALVmed’s partner in West Africa, as a business-to-business (B2B) platform that allows rural agrovets to source and order animal health products such as vaccines, medications, feed, and other supplies directly from distributors and manufacturers with just a tap of a button. The platform is loaded with features that rural retail agrovets need including inventory management and product catalogues and their prices. The agrovets can also view request for products from the fulfilment chain and ongoing sales coming in from the point of sales application.
Agrovets are key in the agriculture value chain because they not only enable farmers to access inputs, they also fill agro-extension gaps. In your typical rural agrovet store, one would find agricultural and veterinary products sourced from multiple distributors and manufacturers from different geographical regions. Many of them rely on paper-based inventory tracking methods resulting in inaccuracies, delays, and repeat stock-outs which ultimately stifle business growth for these small retailers. This is where Zhulia comes in, to provide a convenient platform that will enable agrovets to efficiently manage their retail services. Through the platform, they can access products from multiple suppliers and timely monitor their stock so as to avoid a gap in the supply chain. Zhulia can be accessed as a web application to manage the activities of an agrovet shop and as an offline mobile application that enables agrovets with no internet access to conduct their sales efficiently.
A number of agrovets across five regions in Ghana are already signed up to the platform and can now access products from five large scale distributors. The process of registering more agrovets, distributors and manufacturers is ongoing.
The team at Cowtribe have taken the laborious bookkeeping experiences off the hands of rural agrovets and provided much more that simply can’t be accomplished in a book – a gateway to suppliers of high-quality products. They have provided a native but innovative solution that will bring livestock products closer to small-scale livestock producers.
Written by Beatrice Ouma